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CSBG Archive

Comic Book Legends Revealed #327

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Welcome to the three hundredth and twenty-seventh in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. This week, find out the amusingly low budget reason why only one member of the X-Men appeared on the Marvel cartoon adaptation of Secret Wars. Plus, did Human League really get their name from Judge Dredd comics? Finally, was Manitou Raven really supposed to be Apache Chief?

Click here for an archive of the previous three hundred and twenty-six.

Let’s begin!

COMIC LEGEND: All but one of the X-Men were scrapped from a planned appearance in the Marvel animated adaptation of Secret Wars because producers did not want to fly the voice actors to California.


During the 1990s, Marvel had two popular animated series by Fox, Spider-Man and the X-Men.

The teams crossed over in two Season 2 episodes of Spider-Man.

However, in a later season episode of Spider-Man, the producers tried to do an adaptation of Marvel’s classic crossover series, Secret Wars.

They were not allowed to use the Hulk or She-Hulk because their rights were held by Paramount at the time (and Silver Surfer, too, but I dunno if they would have attempted to use him). However, every other Marvel character was open season, so the producers of Spider-Man figured that they would do Spider-Man, Captain America, Iron Man, the Fantastic Four and the X-Men.

However, here is what they ended up with…

The Human Torch is there, too, just not in that picture.

So just Storm of the X-Men. Why was that?

Well, you see, the X-Men show was recorded in Canada and the Spider-Man series was recorded in Los Angeles. When the X-Men guest-starred in the Spider-Man episode, they flew the cast out from Canada to do their parts. However, after an entire episode had been written with the X-Men included, the Spider-Man producers were informed that the powers that be deemed it too expensive to fly the cast out for this crossover.

Luckily, producer John Semper knew that the voice of Storm from the first season of the show, Iona Morris, lived in Los Angeles. So the show was re-written so that Spider-Man had to pick one member of the X-Men and he chose Storm.

Pretty funny, huh?

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Ed (A Different One)

August 12, 2011 at 10:01 am

I know that the old Super Friends show started in the 70’s, but I always remember Apache Chief as one of the later characters who started on the show in the 80’s – by that point, I was too old and too cool to be watching Super Friends, but my younger sister watched it and, of course, being the superior big brother and all I made fun of her for it.

I know many people have fond memories of that show and all it’s slightly various incarnations, but to be honest, that show probably had more to do with making me anti-DC for many, many years than just about anything else in my life (other than maybe the early 80’s Superman comics my uncle used to get me that seemed to share heavily in the “cornball” factor). I wouldn’t even give DC comics a chance for many years, completely unfairly, because I thought all of their comics would read like Super Friends or those aformentioned Superman issues.

Looking back now, I know I missed out on some good comics as a result of that perception, but at the time you couldn’t get me to even open the cover of most DC books. I could tolerate a little Batman, but that was about it . . .

For what it is worth, Challenge of the Super Friends was 1978.

I had the complete opposite reaction, Ed. Superfriends (along with the Superman movie, I guess), is the only reason I got into comics at all. To each their own, I guess.

Re: Apache Chief: It would be interesting to find out the reason they changed the name, e.g. political correctness, issues around the character being created for a TV show, etc

@Andy: Maybe it was a copyright thing..? Like, maybe the character was created and associated with the company producing the cartoon and they couldn’t secure the rights for the comic version or whatever? I don’t know, I’m just throwing out another suggestion. I’m not old enough to have remembered watching first run episodes having been born in 1979 but I was aware of the character to the point where I found the Inukchuk reference to be pretty fun. But I will say I like the name Manitou Raven FAR better!

…and it has been joked if Human League would have got any kind of recognition at all, had they picked Pansentient Hegemony as a name…

@Charles Yeah, that’s what I was going with with my second bit of speculation. Some characters from the cartoon appeared in the third Super Powers mini-series, but that was a long time ago (though the Wonder Twins have appeared more recently in comics, in Extreme Justice) and unlike the others, Apache Chief has since appeared on another cartoon (Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law) so there may be issues around him that the other characters created for the show don’t have. Hopefully someone knows the real answer

The Spider-Man producers didn’t just think of hiring local soundalikes for the X-Men? I’m sure there were plenty of voice actors in LA that could have used the work. Sheesh.

The concept of a “Human League” is so terribly vague and unoriginal, it could have been a coincidence in any case.

I don’t see what people have against Apache Chief or the other ethnic heroes in Super Friends. Oh sure, they were lame, but so was the rest of the show, it isn’t like they made the series worse with just their presence. And I remember welcoming the addition of non-white heroes to the cast as a kid.

I think the Wonder Twins, Gleek, Apache Chief, Black Vulcan, Samurai, Wendy, Marvin and Wonder Dog, all characters created for the cartoon, are owned by Hanna-Barbera, which is probably why when any of them appeared in the comics, it was in a greatly altered form.

However, since 1996 both DC and Hanna-Barbera have been owned by the same parent company, which may have eased the way for the cartoon characters to poke their head into the mainstream DCU.

I remember that time Apache Chief grew bigger than Earth and ended up walking around in space.

Whoops, I forgot about El Dorado, which is pretty easy to do.

Rima the Jungle Girl showed up in the cartoon around the same time, but she’s a special case, a character from an old novel who’d already briefly had her own DC comic.

An updated form of Apache Chief with a new name (Long Shadow) also appeared as one of the Ultimen in Justice League Unlimited. The Ultimen were all based on the “new” characters from Super Friends (Apache Chief, Samurai, Black Vulcan, and the Wonder Twins).

I_Captain Blanco

August 12, 2011 at 10:55 am

That X-Men thing is weird. They couldn’t have recorded all the X-Men voices up in Canada, overnighted the tapes to L.A., and edited the whole thing together?

Wasn’t Black Vulcan created to avoid paying Tony Isabella for the use of Black Lightning?

Now I gotta read up on this Manitou Raven character. That’s cool!

The Human Fund — Money for People!

@VICHUS: His debut was for the Obsidian Age arc starting around JLA #66 and then he stayed with the team until around #100 where he went off to Justice League Elite. He didn’t stick around long, but his best stuff was in the JLA.

to be fair, The Rezillos ( Joe Callis from Human League’s prior band) had a song about the comic mag 2000ad called, 2000 AD.

Sijo – it’s considered VERY poor form to hire a “soundalike” in the animation world.

I don’t know what year that Spider-Man cartoon — I mean animated series — story is from, but by the 90s they should have been able to spring for a studio-to-studio satellite hook-up.

Ed (A Different One)

August 12, 2011 at 1:39 pm

“I remember that time Apache Chief grew bigger than Earth and ended up walking around in space.”

Yeah, that’s the kind of shit I’m talking about. I know some people would ascribe a particular “awesomeness factor” to that, but it was that kind of stuff that put me off to DC at the time.

And by no means do I intend to be a hater or vilifier of those who enjoyed the show (well, other than my little sister at the time). I wholly agree with what Phylemon said – “to each his own”. I just thought it was hilarious how I stupidly deprived myself of some great comics for many, many years because of my reaction to a kids saturday morning tv show.

I was kind of a dumbass like that . . .

Is Super-Chief from the current GROUNDED storyline in SUPERMAN an Apache Chief homage, or ws there a Super-Chief in the Silver Age? I’m too lazy to check.

Andy – they probably changed the character’s name to Manitou Raven because “Apache Chief” was a hilariously awful name.

When playing ‘superheroes,’ my brother and I would fight over who got to be Apache Chief. Is that weird?

Now when I hear about Apache Chief, I can only think about his appearance on Harvey Birdman, which was hilarious.

And who could forget this exchange:
Aquaman: We’ll call you Black Vulcan!
Black Vulcan: Then why don’t we call you White Fish?

I think the bigger issue with the X-Men cast is the fact they were all Canadian union. It also likely didn’t help that by the time of Secret Wars, X-Men had finished its run (even considering the amount of lead time they would need to do the audio, they would’ve likely already had recorded “Graduation Day”, the finale). As it is, the Fantastic Four in that story had new voices, save for Johnny who ended up being his season 2 voice actor. Semper supposedly hated the FF cast, yet kept one. It’s not like they were beholden to use specific voice actors, since Captain America had one in X-Men and a different one in Spidey (and probably would’ve had yet another in his planned series at the time).

For the record, they could’ve used Silver Surfer, since his show was done by Marvel and Saban, just like X-Men had been, not Marvel/Saban/UPN with the Hulks. I think they just didn’t consider using him.

Is Super-Chief from the current GROUNDED storyline in SUPERMAN an Apache Chief homage, or ws there a Super-Chief in the Silver Age? I’m too lazy to check.

Super-Chief is originally a character from Silver Age DC Western comics. The one showing up in Superman is DC’s fourth Super-Chief, after two other modern ones: a 1990s Superman villain and a very, very short-lived hero in 52..

Gods, that animated travesty of the Secret Wars still gives me headaches just thinking about it! Honestly, why even bother calling it Secret Wars? Big worms coming out of the ground! No Galactus or any decent villains! And the folks on the Spidey show seriously could NOT draw the Thing, they gave him long legs and skinny hips and shoulders, much too human a frame. Tiny hands and feet. I think if and when the next FF movie is made, Mr. Grimm should be all CGI in his rocky form, like they do the Hulk.

Now, if the new animated Avengers show tried it, they would probably do it right, but they have their own stories to tell.

I dont mind the super friends making an appearance in comics and even thought of a way to incorporate el dorado into mon-el.

I think Super-Chief is an older character. He appeared briefly in 52, didn’t he? I can’t help thinking that he was named by a lazy writer after the old Santa Fe “Super Chief” train line.


Ronald Jay Kearschner

August 12, 2011 at 2:34 pm

I sympathize with those that had JLA ruined by SUPERFRIENDS. No matter how many grim and gritty Batman stories I read, I always hear Adam West’s voice from the campy TV series.

I had no idea I Am The Law was about Judge Dredd. Well, I still like the song anyway.

Human League might not be named after characters from Judge Dredd, but you can see Phil Oakey sporting a Dark Judges t-shirt in the “Electric Dreams” video:

Another less known 2000ad related band was The Zarjaz.
I used to play with them in the late 80s, we recorded the 12″ single Interblock Rock also inspired by Judge Dredd which lyrically mixed Mega City slang with Nadsat. Our costumes too were a combination of Dredd & Clockwork Orange styles.
When Madness set up their record label Zarjazz the were obliged to add the extra Z because Tharg The Mighty had already granted us use of the name.

I’d love to see El Dorado in the comics. I never understood his character.

I always figured Samurai was just an internationalized substitute for Red Tornado.

Don’t remember the Apache guy, but I was really young. I remember the Super-friends.

They really should put some kind of Aboriginal American in comics somewhere. Not as a token or a stereotype, but as a good character. Just my opinion.

Yes, Black Vulcan was given that name so they didn’t have to pay Tony Isabella any royalties.

All I know of Apache Chief is that he worked at a telecommunication company of some kind.


@ Ed:

And by no means do I intend to be a hater or vilifier of those who enjoyed the show (well, other than my little sister at the time). I wholly agree with what Phylemon said – “to each his own”. I just thought it was hilarious how I stupidly deprived myself of some great comics for many, many years because of my reaction to a kids saturday morning tv show.

I was kind of a dumbass like that . . .

We all were.

Seriously, SUPER FRIENDS has to be in the Top 5 best things that ever happened to Marvel Comics. It sucked a huge generation of readers into the superhero genre. It also branded the biggest stars that DC has as being faintly juvenille. Finally, DC has spent the last 25 years repeatedly shooting itself in the foot in various misguided attempts to get rid of the SUPER FRIENDS taint.

Yes, SUPER FRIENDS was pretty awful, though some versions of the cartoon were less awful than others. But I don’t think it has influenced me so negatively as to make me turned off by DC characters. Except for the two first Superman movies, almost EVERYTHING featuring superheroes in movie or television was pretty revolting before the very late 1980s, at least. Almost everyone I knew at the time that was into superheroes learned to tune it all out and concentrate on the comics themselves.

Regarding bands named after 2000AD/Judge Dredd/British Comics, etc we DO have the bands Mega City 4 and TV21.

A similar case of band-naming: The Comsat Angels, named after a J.G. Ballard short story. And Airstrip 1 named in reference to 1984.

I’m a fellow dumbass who let The Superfriends keep me from even thinking about DC Comics.

I’m pretty sure the Apache Chief’s space walked more than once. In one episode a giant bearded guy was walking through the solar system and the hair from his beard became tangled around the earth (if somehow they made that the secret origin of Alan Moore, it would have been awesome but the way it played out seemed dumb even when I was eight).

Was Mega City 4 not also an homage to the MC5, who themselves were an allusion to the Dave Clark Five AKA DC5??? Ah, the rich tapestry of rock’n’roll!!!

So I am not the only one who never took DC Comics seriously because of Super-Friends? Actually that’s not quite accurate. It’s more that DC always seems to have two extremes, Justice league goofy, mindwipe corpse heart eating shock, and nothing in between.

Manitou Raven, ugh. I had to look it up. I can’t believe that character was CREATED in 2002. Its one thing if you are writing a historical piece. But enough with the snapshot in time 250 year old stereotypes in the modern day already. Certainly not unique to this character. Its funny how you never see anybody writing a white colonial imperial character into the modern day- gather the leeches and the burning stakes, this looks a job for Puritan Man!


August 13, 2011 at 5:56 am

Its weird how Super-Friends brought so many into comics but also, seemingly from these posts I see here, pulled so many out. I was also fond of Spider-man and his Amazing friends, probably moreso. Wasn’t there suppose to be a spinoff or sequel series to that close to Super-Friends with Spider-man, Captain America, Hulk, Australian Wolverine and Mohawk Storm?

randypan the goatboy

August 13, 2011 at 6:35 am

I remember watching that run on spiderman and laughing to myself[pot helped a lot] that with captain America Storm ,and Reed richards that the heroes picked spiderman as the team leader. That is almost as non senseical as the heroes in secret wars [the book] following nightcrawler. it’s like yeah sure we have captain America and the leaders of the fantastic four and the Xmen…so lets try Spiderman out in the big job…sound good..OOOOOkkkaaayyyy..

As far as the Apachie Cheif shout out…that might have convinced me to see caseys justice league run. I must admit that i didnt like Joe casey because of his political stance. His storyline about lex Luthor starting a war and the justice League being opposed to it[ released not so coincidentally during the iraq war] just smacked of a indictment of the war policy of george W bush and i just dont buy superhero comics to be beaten over the head with Bush is evil….boo Bush boo. If I wanted to be innundated with anti was propoganda i would have bought a “rock against bush cd. This was probably in no way influinced by the fact that i was a soldier serving time in irag at the time. I believed in what we were doing and I still do…so blow me Joe casey.

You know, I had no idea before now that any member of Human League was even aware of any SPI games, let alone played them.

Suddenly, I have a *lot* more respect for the band…

As an old SP gamer I always get a kick seeing them being remembered out there. Still have fond memories of playing WORLD WAR III and THE CREATURE THAT ATE SHEBOYGAN and a whole host of other games by SPI. Truth to tell, though, I played a lot more OUTREACH than STARFORCE; I always liked the spin-off better, so that’s probably why I never made the connection before now…

The radio started playing Human League’s “Human” just as I started reading that section of the column.

Randypan: Joe Kelly and Joe Casey are two different people.

That’s just what they want you to think, Toozin!

I have been completely unaware of Joe Casey until this moment. Looking over his bibliography, I could see how that would happen.

Well, I guess that’s not entirely true. I did read the first trade of Godland, but that’s probably it, unless I read some of his Superman issues at some point without his name sticking in my head.

Joe Casey is neat. His current comic for Image, Butcher Baker, is a ton of fun.

Squashua – … I think you may well have just explained why the Red Tornadoes defend Japan in Flashpoint…

I’m pretty sure Kelly also mentioned the link between Chief and Raven in the foreword or afterword to The Obsidian Age tpbs.

randypan the goatboy

August 13, 2011 at 4:07 pm

it wasnt the same guy..i thought for all this time that it was the same guy writing justice league during that entire time…my bad. so which is which and what books do they have to their credits?

They both wrote Superman at the same time. Casey was doing Adventures of Superman while Kelly was doing Action Comics. Kelly did JLA.

Now I liked Challenge of the Superfriends. A lot. Back then it was startling to have a cartoon stuffed with established characters (Solomon Grundy, Toyman, Black Manta, Bizarro, Cheetah)–after the Batman show, every TV super-hero show seemed to bend over backwards to avoid using costumed criminals. The Spider-Man TV series of the seventies being one example (or first season super-friends, for that matter).

My kid absolutely loves Superfriends. Which is cool, because I remember more than I thought, having to sit back and watch it all again. “Wonder Twins power activate! In the form of: Gelatin Desert.” Awesome. As for Apache Chief, possibly the greatest character never to be a regular in the comics.

It’s absolutely amazing how ridiculously pc some people insist on being. It’s like a race to see who can say the most asinine thing. Good job whomever it was that busted out “Aboriginal American,” you’ve taken the lap.

Anthrax was another bad that spent an inordinate amount of time writing songs about Judge Dredd. Much better than the monkey crap above, too.

Or even “gelatin dessert.” Whatever.

Ok, so I’m not the only one that mixes up Joe Kelly and Joe Casey sometimes? Lately I’ve been better because of a few things that make them more distinct in my head, but I used to confuse them regularly.

Neat legends, as always. I’d seen the interview about Manitou, or read the Obsidian Age TPB that someone mentioned, so I knew that Manitou was an homage to Apache Chief.

And now due to Dan Wars’s comment above, I know that the Rezillos morphed into the Human League. I like the Rezillos better myself…

I was going to get all excited because I could link Human League to another comics related band name, but then I realized I was in error (I think). I got my Magnetic Fields offshoots confused — I thought the Gothic Archies covered “Don’t You Want Me Baby”, but I think it’s Future Bible Heroes, actually. It’s sorta connected….

There isn’t that much connection between Human League and Rezillos, guitarist Callis joined the second phase of the group after the first phase had effectively split.
Something to know when talking about Human League: there are two notably different phases in their history. The first one was more experimental, closer in sound to Bowie’s Berlin era, krautrock and fellow Sheffield bands like Cabaret Voltaire and Clock DVA, and released two albums, both fine pieces though not wildly commercial. Then due to musical differences the band split in two, Ware and Marsh went to form Heaven 17 while Oakey and Wright kept the name but got a bunch of new members, went for much poppier sound and got much more popular.

I do like Dare! but my favorite of theirs is the debut album Reproduction, especially the CD reprint which includes the single Being Boiled and EP Dignity of Labor.

[…] Wars cartoon arc because of plane tickets? I didn’t either until I read last week’s Comic Book Legends Revealed. Share this:EmailDiggFacebookTwitterLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. from → […]

@Ronald: Go watch the ’90s cartoon. You’ll start to hear that voice when you read Batman.

@Ted: Obviously, you didn’t do enough looking. Manitou Raven isn’t a modern hero, really. He’s from about ten thousand years ago, and is part of the League due to time travel.

@Jim Ryan I have no idea where your musical tastes lie (nor how to make a reply end up beneath your name) but you shouldn’t let pop Human League cloud your judgement.

Before they picked up some birds in the pub The Human League did some pretty good “dark distopian electronica”, some of which is on their first LP (such as Circus of Death), some of which is on the Golden Hour of the Future bootleg. And some of the original noodlers went on to form the utterly awesome Clock DVA.

(I wouldn’t ordinarily comment here, but anyone who knows SPI games wpuld probably be interested).

/Loved Superfriends as a kid
// And Zenith. Which made me read superhero comics. Damn you, Grant Morrison.

Anthony Durrant

August 21, 2011 at 7:39 pm

The great Carl Barks also had the ending to one of his Donald Duck stories – the one in which Donald becomes an arsonist after falling down the stairs – changed completely by a staff artist.

i don’t know much about voice acting but why couldn’t the just have them do the voices in Canada and mail the tapes to where ever they need to go

There probably wasn’t enough time.

I have a handful of issues of Super Friends comics, featuring both the DC characters like Superman and Batman and the Hanna-Barbera characters like the Wonder Twins. These comics look like they’re from the early 1970s. DC and HB must have worked something out regarding the rights even as far as back that. Therefore they could have done it in the other comics if they really wanted to.

The addition of token minority superheroes like Apache Chief, Black Vulcan, Samurai, Cyborg, and El Dorado worked because they were still good characters. I especially liked Samurai and Cyborg.

One thing that Super Friends got right was the art style. Thanks to good solid heroic character designs by Alex Toth, even limited animation couldn’t make the characters look bad. Contrast that with everything made from the 1990s onward, where everything is really flat and cartoony.

What makes them ‘tokens’?

I always liked Joe Kelly’s run of JLA. I liked that he took an established roster of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern (both Kyle & John), Flash, Plastic Man, Martian Manhunter & rescuing Aquaman from Limbo, plus brought back Green Arrow, Atom, Hawkgirl & Firestorm, & brought in new members like Nightwing, Jason Blood & Major Disaster, with new characters like Faith & Manitou Raven. (And I think it was extremely disappointing they got removed from the roster almost immediately after Joe Kelly left)

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